OFSTED April 2017 Key Comments: 

  • ‘Pupils shine at this school because they benefit enormously from being part of the ‘St James family’, a supportive and caring community. They are happy and safe in school.
  • ‘The conduct of pupils in this school, the way they interact with each other and adults, is impeccable – in fact, it is the best I have ever seen(Feedback from HMI to School Governors, Local Authority and Diocesan representatives)
  • Pupils readily respond to leaders’ high expectations evident in the ‘SHINE’ ethos. As a result, they ‘Speak politely, Have respect, follow Instructions, Never say never and Engage positively’ in all that they do
  • ‘Pupils work exceptionally well together’
  • ‘Pupils have excellent attitudes to learning, they are curious and want to achieve their best.’
  • ‘Pupils know what it means to be ‘ready to learn’’
  • ‘Pupils’ conduct is exemplary. They show high levels of respect for each other and for their teachers and teaching assistants.
  • ‘Pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development is a strength of the school’
  • ‘The school's work to promote pupils' personal development and welfare is outstanding. Leaders make sure that pupils are cared for exceptionally well’
  • ‘Staff are proud to be a member of staff at this school’
  • ‘Pupils, including the most able, are challenged by their work’
  • ‘Pupils are taught the skills needed to become thoughtful, self-confident citizens, able to express their views and opinions.’
  • ‘Progress overall is much better than that of similar-ability pupils nationally’
  • ‘Key stage 4 outcomes in GCSE examinations demonstrate consistently strong progress over each of the last three years’
  • ‘Parents have highly-positive views of the school and confirm their children are safe and happy at this school. They greatly appreciate the pastoral care and support provided.’
  • ‘Pupils say they feel safe at school, they say there are no bullies and are confident they would be listened to if they shared a concern with a teacher or pastoral leader.’
  • ‘Governors know the strengths of the school and where there are further improvements still to be made.’
  • ‘Pupils enjoy coming to school.’
  • ‘Pupils, including the most able, are challenged by their work because most teachers have high expectations of pupils and plan work which is hard enough for them.’
  • ‘Pupils learn well and make excellent progress because teaching in English, mathematics and most other subjects is consistently good.’
  • ‘Leaders have successfully introduced a more ambitious culture in the school based upon high expectations.’
  • ‘Pupils typically make good progress because teachers have strong subject knowledge, which they use well to plan interesting and challenging work for pupils.’
  • ‘Teaching assistants support pupils well in lessons, including low-ability pupils and those who have special educational needs and/or disabilities, who need extra help.’

Trip to Berlin and Procedures for Severe Weather Conditions

Monday 26th February 2018

I hope you all had an enjoyable half-term break. As we continue on our Lenten journey we make our preparations for the good news of Easter, through prayer, fasting and charity. Lenten services begin today, with 7M, 7C & 7A, and all other RE class will also be given the opportunity over this half-term to reflect on the significance of the Lenten season.

This week my assemblies are focussed on ‘The Great Big School Clean’, which is an initiative by Keep Britain Tidy and takes place nationally on Friday 2nd March. The assemblies are being introduced by our Head Boy and Head Girl, Ryand & Claire, who are also highlighting the teaching of Pope Francis about the environment and his encyclical, Laudate Si, and are encouraging all students to make use of the school’s new recycling bins for plastic and cans. We already have paper recycling bins throughout the school. The message of my assembly is quite simple, and I encourage students to make a particular effort during this Lenten period:

  • Put rubbish in the bin or take it home
  • Go plastic bag free

We welcome back the students and staff who had a busy and information-filled trip to Berlin over half-term. The reports that we have had regarding our youngsters’ attitude and behaviour have been outstanding, and they were a credit to the school and their families. Thank you to Mrs Birch, Mr Cawley, Miss Massey & Miss McCumesky for leading the trip.

I received an email this morning from Mr Tom Morgan, their Tour Guide, who wrote to pass on his thanks and congratulations for such a successful visit and exemplary group of students and staff:

‘I feel that I must write to let you know what a good impression the group made on me. The students were excellent in every respect, polite, considerate and attentive. They were clearly well-prepared for the visit, and were engaged with the subject-matter. It really was a pleasure to guide such excellent listeners.  They were a credit to their school, their parents and themselves. I cannot praise them highly enough. I wish all groups were like this!

The members of your staff supervising the students, led by Mrs L Birch, were all friendly and welcoming towards me.  As far as supervision of the students was concerned, they took their duties very seriously but didn’t seem to have much to do. In fact, they made it look easy.  I was a Head Teacher myself, and I know that this apparent easy-going approach does not always come naturally, but is the result of high standards being consistently expected and insisted on over a long period, and I congratulate you on this.

I am able to pick and choose the school groups I guide. I would have no hesitation in agreeing to guide teachers and students from your school in future.

Please pass on my congratulations to all concerned, and feel free to share the contents of this email with any part of the school community.’

And finally, as the country prepares itself for the ‘Beast from the East’ I would like to remind parents and carers about our procedures for severe weather. The weather forecast for this area is not looking bad at the moment, but it is best to be prepared:

We are at the time of the year when we face the forecast of snow showers, so we would like to remind you of the arrangements we will make in the event of severe weather. If, in the Headteacher’s opinion, to open the school would not be in the best interests of the health and safety of students and staff, or if difficulty with transport networks means the school would be inadequately staffed, the school will remain closed. The following procedure will then apply to keep the school community informed:

A message will be posted on the school website by 7.15 am. Please ask your child to check before setting out on their journey to school. This message will be updated regularly to keep you aware of plans for the following day. A text message will also be sent to all parents to keep you informed.

School uniform rules still apply, but pupils may wear more appropriate footwear, i.e., wellington boots, for their journey to and from school, and change into school shoes once they arrive.

Please note that a message will only usually be posted on the school website or on Twitter if the school is to close, either fully or partially. If there is no message, then the school will be open as normal.


I look forward to seeing as many of you as possible at Year 9 Parents’ Evening on Thursday